Portland-area writers Gina Williams, Ben Ferguson, Jennifer Fulford, and Issue 6 contributor Brad Garber will join Penduline editor Bonnie Ditlevsen for an evening of short prose, sudden poetry, and flash memoir. The event will take place on Wednesday, February 26th at 7:30 p.m. at Common Grounds Coffeehouse (www.commongroundspdx.com). [Photo: "Joker" by Issue 4 Featured Artist […]
Penduline Press is pleased to welcome Irish poet and Issue 9 contributor Susan Millar DuMars for a special reading in Portland on Wednesday, March 5th. Joining Susan will be Pacific Northwest poets Linda Rand, Carole Murphy, Pattie Palmer-Baker, Emily Newberry, Kristin Roedell, and Marjorie Power. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. at Common Grounds Coffeehouse, […]
Come to Common Grounds Coffeehouse on Wednesday, February 19th at 7:30 p.m. for the fourth installment of the Penduline Reading Series. The evening will feature new work by writers Wayne Gregory, Kate Dreyfus, Jessica Starr, Laura Green, and Nina Rockwell. Common Grounds serves beer, wine, teas and coffees as well as delicious sandwiches and snacks. […]
We are pleased to nominate the following writers for the Pushcart Prize: Dave Lordan, “It’s Only Make Believe” and “Everlasting Love” Nathan Leslie, “Baby Carrots in Two Hundred and Forty-Four” Raul Palma, “Sweet Hash” Congratulations to you, Dave, Bernise, Kevin, Sharon, Nathan, and Raul! Sculpture by Issue 10 Featured Artist Marian Fountain, “One Tremor” (8 […]
In conjunction with Penduline Press, Common Grounds Coffeehouse, 4321 SE Hawthorne Blvd. in Portland, will be hosting a regular reading series on Wednesdays. On Wednesday, December 4th at 7:30 p.m., Penduline will present its first-ever Penduline Poetry Series, featuring new work by Portland poets Kate Dreyfus, Jenny Forrester, Sherri Streicher, and Bonnie Ditlevsen. Come to […]
Bruce Sydow, “R&R in Sydney, 1970” (Issue 8) Kevin Higgins, “Poem In The Manner of The Late Kevin Higgins” (Issue 9) Abby Oliveira, “Freedom Fighters” (Issue 9) Kit Fryatt, “I Find” (Issue 9) Chris Joyner, “Why She Wrestles” (Issue 8) Timothy Marsh, “Uncle Mike” (Issue 6) Anthony Isaac Bradley, “Diary of a Sex Doll” (Issue […]
When I read a completed story back to myself I sometimes think, “Shit. Is this going to be a trigger? Or is this going to offend someone?” Then I snap out of it and remember that when it comes to writing my truths I can’t concern myself with placating others so they can feel more safe. I wasn’t raised to hide behind the screen of Calm and Nice and Safe. Someone told me once that if you aren’t pissing people off you aren’t living an honest life. Even though I’m pretty sure he was kidding, I agree with that wholeheartedly.
“Occupational Hazard” started off as a single line: “I almost died, or was killed, really, three different times, by three different girls.” That line came to me, and I wrote it down, and left it alone, since I was working on something else at the time. Then a few weeks later, when I started actually writing what would become “Occupational Hazard,” the rest of the story filled itself in. I had no idea that the story would be about a chef until I started writing it. People often ask me if my stories are autobiographical, and I thankfully can say that this one was not.
This tale grew out of discussions with my wife about how to live life to its fullest. I feel that the ideal lies somewhere between hedonism and asceticism. I don’t want to use the word “moderation” because it sounds so boring and might be hypocritical coming from someone who’s still guilty of boozy excess now and again. We have to learn to moderate our behavior or – like the Princess in the story – bad things will befall us.
I love Williamsburg earth pigments. I see them as the anchor of my work. My favourites are the standard umbers and ochres and blacks. In contrast the native earths are gritty and have a texture like “jellywhip” which I love to use to soften the clunky pigments or add substance to the transparent pigments. Texture is very important to me. My favourite color is a crimson PBr175 from Old Holland which is hard to find, I use it to tone down my quindaricridones and enhance my earth reds without losing their richness.
It’s a thrill when sculpting to feel in touch with the artisan ancestors by repeating exactly the same manual gestures, understanding better the many artifacts from the plethora of cultures and eras. Through practice, the hand-eye coordination blends the conscious and the unconscious, and we begin to feel part of the collective lake of consciousness. I feel that creating things with the hands is like keeping the sap flowing through the branches and roots of a plant, keeping the organism (myself and the collective consciousness) alive and healthy.
In person she is the humblest, nicest most unassuming person you could wish to meet, but on the pole she is an absolute goddess – so expressive, so beautiful. I painted from a photo (there’s no way anyone could hold that pose for more than 10 seconds!!!) I used the technique of grisaille and painted her first in detailed black and white, then slowly started washing about 8-10 layers of lightly tinted oily glaze over it, letting each layer dry before applying the next. With each glaze she came to life more and more and leapt out of the canvas at me!
At age nine I wrote a “novel” on a big notebook. Each chapter was exactly five pages long and had a hand-drawn-and-colored illustration every other page. The protagonist was blond, American, and inexplicably popular. He encountered misfortune after misfortune and blamed a black cat for all his woes. Obviously, that “novel” sucked big-time, but I still keep it and look at it from time to time just for the laughs. I’m glad I started so early so that I could fulfill my quota for terrible writing and hurry up and start banging out passable stories.
Issue 7 and 8 Contributor Zoë Meager of New Zealand is the Pacific Regional Winner of the 2013 Commonwealth Short Story Prize for “Things with Faces.”
“Intangible keepsakes – sounds, images, feelings – piece together the memory of a childhood. From a wild landscape, a creature comes forth to live with people, while in return a father is swallowed whole, disappearing past the edges of the known world. As a family lives its life, each learns what it is to seek comfort and to love fiercely, and that those are instincts of not only humans, but other animals too.
“I’m so lucky to be included in the shortlist for such a well-respected competition, and it’s incredibly fortifying to win the Pacific regional prize. It’s a thrill to think that ‘Things With Faces’ is contributing to this unique collection of imaginative works from all around the world.”
I haven’t seen many people working with the medium in contemporary art but if you go back a bit into Irish history some of the most famous Irish artists worked with ink. One of my favorite Irish artists is Harry Clarke. He is well known for his stained glass pieces but I love his ink illustrations. They are gothic and magical and really quite dark. These illustrations can be considered the polar opposite of the work that I’m executing. Clarke’s ink works move from dark to light with predominantly black areas, whereas my works contains large areas of white with the black used to create the detail. Some of my favorite images of Clarke’s are his illustrations of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Pit and the Pendulum.
There is a widely held assumption that, beyond the holy trinity of Joyce, Beckett and Flann O’Brien, and the work of a few less celebrated writers such as Aidan Higgins and Desmond Hogan, twentieth-century Irish fiction is bereft of experimentalism, parochial, and ploddingly unadventurous. Certainly, none of the great European avant-garde conflagrations ever gusted onto our shores. Yet, Killian Turner, an oddly neglected Irish author, has always struck me as an avant-garde unto himself.
Well, coming from an Inner-City Ghetto background, I had to look more to American and French writers to find what could be termed street or city writing. People like Henry Miller, Bukowski, Miguel Pinero, Gil Scot Heron,The Beats, Celine, Genet. These were writers who spoke about, drugs, sex, violence, drinking, poverty, crime. Then there was the other side, what I would call ‘Spiritual,’ ‘Visionary,’ ‘Prophetic,’ ’Revolutionary.’ The best example of this is William Blake. Others: Whitman, Shelley, The Beats, Rimbaud, Renaldo Arenas. And of course hip-hop/rap, spoken word that came up from the city streets of the black/Hispanic slum culture of America and took over world culture.
Sometimes I’m asked why I have to ‘ruin’ a picture by sticking a monkey in it. If it were done as a joke they’d be right, but my intention is serious. The ‘surprise’ is intended to effect a shock of recognition: that the viewer is not looking at an ‘Old Master’, but a picture of our time, expressing living issues and concerns. If the viewer shares these concerns the relationship between viewer and painting is altered; each becomes implicated in the other’s world. You might look on my traditionalism as a form of camouflage, a ‘trojan horse’ tactic that relies on our complacent veneration of ‘classic’ art to get past the usual intellectual defences; to reach and grab and hold the viewer where they least expect it.
‘Ghostgirl’ came out of the time when the Health Service Executive – who are responsible for children in state care in Ireland – had started to publish reports on the deaths of minors in their care. And what came out of that seemed to represent the voices and opinions of everyone involved except the children. Certainly, whenever the death of a minor was reported in the media, they were depicted either as tearaways or victims. I thought that the truth must be neither, that we all have hopes and dreams and possibility, even if we don’t get the opportunity to live them.
I think that the interesting thing about spoken word in Ireland is the different combination of influences, local, national, global, biographical, folk, rock and roll, avant-garde, traditional, stand-up. shamanism etc., you find in each unique practitioner. Irish spoken word is far less slam-oriented than American spoken word seems to be and I think this allows diversity and individuality to be the ruling principle among us Irish.
Ireland, especially the Irish countryside, is a land of unrecorded or of misrecorded crime, particularly of crimes committed by the powerful against the vulnerable. According to an account in a local history journal a woman drowned in a swimming pool in the grounds of a hotel in Wicklow in the 1930s. The hotel belonged to a leading member of the Irish branch of the German Nazi party. High-level Nazi meetings took place there. No explanation is offered for the woman’s death, in this journal. An abyss opens up in the stately grounds of County Wicklow. The story describes what I saw in this particular abyss.
I was working at a Buddhist hospice in San Francisco and creating rave flyers on the side. When I lost my job, the design gigs were the only income I had for a while, so I really arrived at graphic design through necessity. Graphic design is what happened to me while I was looking for a real job. I didn’t really think of it as a “career” until I came a across the Designers Republic issue of Emigre. That was a revelation to me; it was one of the most exciting, arresting things I had ever seen. I was like, “I want to do that, that is what I want to do.”
I went on a long spiritual journey and had to come back to art on my own. Eventually I chose to take a job at an art store in LA where I learned a lot about the various art supplies, and moved into The Parkman House in Silver Lake. I surrounded myself with like-minded, creative, beautiful sorts that shared common creative goals. If I ever needed help figuring something out for a project, I could ask my roommate, my neighbor the tattooist, or the smart boy in the Fine Arts department to guide me. Part of the fun of being mostly self-taught is I have picked my own teachers, whether they knew it or not.
Retrospectively I think whatever job I’ve had it’s been the narrative aspects that I’ve enjoyed the most. I was an SPCA inspector for a couple of years. It was all about investigating complaints of animal cruelty, which we would characterize into ‘skinny dog’, ‘dog on chain’ etc., but there was always a story behind their predicament that revolved around their owner. It didn’t excuse what happened with the animal, but I just found it interesting. Today I scan hearts, but alongside the echo findings it’s learning the person’s history and symptoms and then following the progression of their heart condition and treatment that is fascinating and endlessly variable.
It is hard to justify something as ridiculous and as old as painting is; it’s so redundant in today’s society, superfluous even with the plethora of images saturating our everyday vision. To connect to others through being disconnected and alone in a studio seems almost anti-technological in this interconnected age. Perhaps this space and time that the artist creates poring over a work is what also creates the space for a viewer to become quiet, to contemplate and reflect. Whatever it is, I believe that painting still holds up against all of its successors. I find painting to be the most direct, expressionistic, authentic and responsive medium for a subjective communication. It is the result of the interconnectivity of the hand, the eye and the canvas; the manifestation of these things – interacting. Paint on the end of a brush shaped by the subtle movements of the hand and decisions of the eye is a complex, idiosyncratic signature.
In the US, if you see an attractive or intriguing person in a magazine or on television, he or she stays on the other side of that media divide.
But New Zealand is so small and interconnected that Kiwis are rarely more than two or three degrees apart, and the line between “world-famous-in-New-Zealand” and normal person, or between knockout beauty and Average Joe from Ashburton, is much more permeable. And that’s interesting because it levels the playing field somewhat, and an unusual kind of social mobility is possible. But while it’s freeing in the sense that it enables relationships between people you might not expect, it also means you have fewer excuses for not trying.
Award-winning Irish performance poet and author Dave Lordan (davelordanwriter.com) will be guest editing Issue 9 of Penduline, an Irish-themed issue, which will launch in late spring 2013. Dave is known in Ireland and internationally for his richly provocative, philosophical, experimental literary work; along with performance poetry, he has written three books. His collections are the The Boy in The Ring (2007) and Invitation to a Sacrifice (2010), both published by Salmon Poetry, and his newest work, a collection of short fiction stories First Book of Frags (Wurm Press, forthcoming November 2012). As a lead-in to the late spring issue, Penduline editors Sarah Horner-Olson and Bonnie Ditlevsen will feature Dave in Issue 8 (“Bound”) and publish one of his newest experimental fiction stories.
Daniel Coshnear, “firstname.lastname@example.org” (Issue 4)
Michelle Joy, “The (Empty) Road” (Issue 5)
Ann Batchelor Hursey, “What Lay Open” (Issue 5)
Brendan Regan, “Country Satori” (Issue 5)
Tim Kahl, “Submission Story” (Issue 4)
John Aylesworth, “For the young woman who kills snakes and works at Tractor Supply” (Issue 5)
Lisa Sinnett, “Meant to Disturb” (Issue 2)
James Russell, “The Camp Seminole Wiener Wall” (Issue 4)
We are delighted to announce our nomination of the following Penduline authors for Pushcart Prizes: Donald Dewey, “Till’s Piano Lesson” (Issue 4); Duy Nguyen, “Thousand-Year-Old Eggs” (Issue 4); Dave Lordan, “A Bone” (Issue 6); Scott Jessop, “Mephisto” (Issue 4); Ariel Gore, “Family” (Issue 3); Tom Barlow, “Jester” (Issue 5). Congratulations and best wishes to you, […]
I’ve played gigs as a drummer since I was fourteen, and I still love it. I also love writing/recording original music. The last few years I’ve been performing more solo acoustic gigs, just vocals and guitar, and now I’m involved in a new experimental band called Thirst that I’m pretty excited about. I guess the gigs are the more social side of writing. You know, you can’t just stay locked up in a room by yourself all the time or you’ll end up writing weird little stories about your cat.
I think “truth can be stranger than fiction” applies to photography just as it does to writing. I like to find things that other people may have missed seeing.
I don’t call myself a Midwestern poet because I left. When I think of “poets of place,” I think of Gary Snyder, who built his home in northern California in the late 60s, and has lived and written from/of that place for decades. I consider myself a semi-nomadic poet with strong Midwestern sensibilities and memories. Now that I live in Seattle, I align myself with the rich heritage of Pacific Rim poets on both sides of the ocean, stretching back thousands of years.
Cleveland is the hearth/home of our art in many ways. The almost post-apocalyptic feel of huge segments of Downtown Cleveland (where we used to live) has impacted how we think about the world. You can see that in “Washerwoman” and “A Light in the Distance” (which are two images from the same non-existent landscape). Cleveland is magical. There are all these beautiful old houses from the Gilded Age—the millionaires at the time built mansions in the heart of East Cleveland, then abandoned them later as “urban blight” struck and so, unlike some urban areas that are architecturally impoverished, in East Cleveland slums look like a Victorian apocalypse took place.
We create an online presence for artists and writers by bringing them to anyone with Internet access. We curate, we communicate, we improve the field and the craft by bringing about exposure. It’s a lucky thing to be published somewhere. And the good luck all rubs right back off onto us.
I am very inspired by Alexander Rodchenko and photographers like Joel Sartore. I’m always looking for that thing that haunts me about everyday life and the urban environment whilst wanting to capture something really special and strange in the natural world around me. I like to get a photo no one else has. Even if it doesn’t win any awards, I don’t mind; it is something I wanted to capture and frame forever.
She held poetry up as the accomplishment without compare. So it was to poetry that I went at the start of my creative writing life. I’d always loved the individual word, the look and feel and taste of each one. Poetry lends itself to delectable language and the choosing of words as if they are jewels. You can hold them up to the light or feel their heft in the dark. Here the emerald, there the agate. But I also loved the narrative that pulls you through difficult terrain. From poetry I began writing stories and from stories gravitated to novels. Short stories are my favorite medium. I like their space restriction and almost poetical compression of image, intensity, and voice.
And there in the midst of this squalor I met this old woman who ranted—quite intelligently—about Ayn Rand and Objectivism for more than an hour. But she lived it. She lived as she believed. Her apartment was pretty much as described in the story: littered in drug paraphernalia, magazines, and longhair political tomes. That was my inspiration. I’m sorry to say she didn’t pluck a chicken during our visit. I added that just to make her creepy.
I think I set so many things in Los Angeles because I’m never quite through with how I feel about being from there. I love Nathanael West’s Day of the Locusts. Or Joan Didion’s LA essays in Slouching Towards Bethlehem. I wanted to add my corner of Los Angeles too because I think it’s underrepresented (even though LA is completely overrepresented as a whole in film and lit). I love the theme of inventing one’s self in a new landscape which West and Didion both write about. I like the high expectations with little or no delivery that LA gives us. I’m a little sick that way.
Right now these fictionalized memoirs are important to me, because I am finally seeing and processing what I was facing as a young teen and how unprepared I was for it all. My daughters are reaching this stage and I can see that they are not bathed in violence and they are much more confident and mature than I was at their age. Writing through these experiences has given me so much optimism—that positive change does happen, and the chain of family violence can be unhinged, broken, laid to rest.
In what ways is your writing conformist, and in what ways is it revolutionary?
I write stories about conformists because that’s the culture I was raised in. It’s revolutionary because I write from outside that culture now, but I keep in mind (and hopefully in the reader’s mind) the fact that this particular culture still exists and it’s still dangerous to women and girls and everyone else—except white males. There, I said it.
What artists or events influenced you early on in your experience?
When I was eight years old I saw a Piet Mondrian painting on the cover of a magazine. It struck a chord, the use of black lines, blocks of colour, and white spaces.
Later that year at my school, a painting competition was held. There had been themed competitions before during the year, but in that particular week, the contest had a “leave it up to you” theme. So I used my imagination and came up with something abstract. My teacher truly appreciated how different my entry was. No one at school knew it, but making abstract art was what I did at home, up in my room. I did all sorts of geometric colouring books. I measured out all these squares on paper and then would sit quietly staring at them.
Winning that contest was like, wow! It was one of those instances in your life that goes deep down.
Seattle-based writer and fellow Penduline Issue 1 contributor Jenny Hayes (pictured, left) was among those in the audience that evening. Her reaction? “We were all so excited for Jenny, ready to cheer her on no matter how it went. And she killed it!”
We don’t ever get to thank our teachers enough, but by dedicating Issue 1 to Ariel, it’s a small thank you for her light, her contributions to art and literature, and her careful guidance of writers in many places around the world.